In the garden: I do believe the cukes are starting to be ready
46 days from the second week in June, and they were from flats....
IIRC, last time I ate with sliced and spread with crème fraîche and some good salt. Extravagant, but not extravagant for a complete meal.
Unfortunately, I also spotted a Japanese beetle sitting comfortably on one of the cucumber leaves. Presumably, they won't go for the cukes since they have a whole raspberry patch and some roses for decoys, but, what if:
japanese beetles are TERRIBLE here in Western Pa. We were mad when they ate our roses and furious when they attacked the wisteria but when they discovered the pole beans and cucumbers we declared war! We bought a beetle trap which was full in no time then we put up the yellow plastic cups with clove oil for cuke beetles and found that the japanese beetles can't stay away from them! Every day they are disgustingly full of japanese beetles with the occasional cuke beetle for good measure..I won't touch them but Randy strains out the dead beetles , puts the cups back in place and waits for more of the nasty things to kill themselves!
If only hummingbirds ate Japanese beetles! I have four of the loveable little critters dive-bombing each other right now. Apparently not, but there are alternatives:
Birds such as grackles, meadowlarks, starlings, cardinals, and catbirds have been reported as significant predators of JB adults. In addition, pheasants, chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas readily feed on the beetles. Starlings, grackles, crows, and gulls also devour large numbers of JB larvae.
I have or had a pair of cardinals this spring -- florid male, more modest female -- so it sounds like that's my best approach; more living things in a more complex system, instead of the bait approach, which sounds like work, a grim treadmill, when I read the threads about traps, and yellow cups, and all the recipes seem to involve insecticides.* Here's how:
Some birds love to eat Japanese beetle, so attract them to your landscape with birdbaths, feeders and nesting boxes that are nearby where you have beetle problems. Don’t chase away starlings! These birds may be considered pests, but again, they have a great purpose when it comes to Japanese beetles. They eat the adult beetles and the grubs in the ground.
Aha! Now I understand why (for some definition of "why") my subconscious was forcing a card about a water feature! To attract birds! One reason I like gardening is that, at least for me, it's been possible to arrive at an answer that's right for the system from incomplete or even wrong premises. And when you think about it, that's a far more exciting and adaptive skill then reasoning to the right conclusion from correct premises, is it not?
So, project for next year, making the usual assumptions about not losing the house, etc.: Attract beneficial birds! One of the things the "birdbaths, feeders and nesting boxes" approach misses out on is plants. For example, I wonder if I should plant anything near the water feature that would attract birds, if only with color? (I did notice that birds were collecting straw from the sheet mulch, presumably for nests, so I ought to time my sheetmulching effort to nest-building time.)
NOTE * It's like the beetles are marks, and the bait is the con. Something to be said here about the wrong turn this country has taken.